Published On: Tue, Dec 27th, 2016

Given the choice

Dutch passportPersons wishing their grandchildren to maintain Dutch passports should apparently discourage voters in the Netherlands from backing either VVD or SP (see Saturday paper) during the Second Chamber of Parliament elections next March. Both parties want to adapt the Kingdom Charter to create a Commonwealth with Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.

The liberal democratic VVD of Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the three Caribbean countries must agree to an independent status, while the currently opposition Socialist Party (SP) wants to replace the existing kingdom with cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and agreements on mutual support in the execution of government tasks. Exactly what to make of all that is anybody’s guess, but it stands to reason that in a looser constitutional structure the future Dutch and consequently European Union (EU) citizenship for islanders is likely to become an issue eventually.

Not that the other main parties are crystal clear about in their intentions, but at least Christian democratic CDA, the democrats of D66 and Christian Union (CU) emphasise the importance of good relations within the kingdom. Their point of departure is to improve ties, rather than to – figuratively speaking – create more distance.

That doesn’t mean they want to go easy on the islands. To the contrary, good governance and strong law enforcement are considered very important and efforts to promote such are bound to continue regardless of who form the next government in The Hague.

Still, there is a difference between wanting to ensure basic rights in the former colonies and doing so but with ultimately driving them away in mind. Given the choice, most Dutch Caribbean people would probably prefer the former at this point.

Editorial, The Daily Herald

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